Montbell Torrent Flier jacket

Seeing that we would most likely face quite some torrential rain while trekking at the end of the monsoon season in Nepal I was looking for a jacket that would be able to keep me dry, yet not add too much weight to my pack. Weighing in at a mere 243 grams while still offering functions such as large pit-zips for ventilation and its small pack size the Torrent Flier jacket ticked all the right boxes.

Specs

Weight 8.6 oz. (243 g)
Fabric 2.5-layer GORE-TEX® PacLite technology
12-denier Ballistic Airlight rip-stop nylon
Compressed size 3 x 3 x 5.8 in. (8 x 8 x15 cm)
Country of origin CHINA
Center back length 28.1 in. (71.5 cm)
Other Front zipper: Left hand insert (Right side slider)

Features

Smart Sewing Technology for weight savings
Fully seam taped
Single 7in.(16cm) zippered chest pocket
16in. (42cm) pit zips
2-way adjustable hood
Draw cord hem adjustment
Adjustable alpine cuff
Weather resistant Aqua-Tect ™ zipper
Slightly articulated arms
Stuff sack included

Comfort

The jacket is designed with the mindset of “no frills”, meaning that it does not focus on any unnecessary extras, especially anything adding comfort. Nonetheless, I have found this jacket to be extremely comfortable and it has never felt abrasive against my skin. The jacket never felt stiff thanks to its PacLite fabric and it allows for excellent movement while scrambling up steep mountains, never restricting my movement.

Weather protection & durability

I was to find out quickly whether or not this jacket would be able to keep me dry as we were hit hard in the Kanchenjunga region where we had rain every single day for nearly 3 weeks. As the rain kept pouring down I was expecting that at some point the jacket would surrender to the rainfall, but to my surprise it never did. The 2.5 – layer Gore-Tex PacLite combined with 12 denier rip-stop nylon did a remarkable job at keeping the water at bay. I honestly cannot remember having gone through this kind of downpour for so many consecutive days without feeling the slightest bit of water seeping through the fabric, so I was immensely happy and impressed.
In the Himalayas it isn´t just the rain that can be dreadful, the icy cold wind too can be exceptionally unbearable. I had brought along a wind jacket for extra protection where the wind would be at its worse, however, the Torrent Flier did such an exceptional job at keeping the wind out I never really needed my extra wind jacket. The wind resistance that this jacket offers is truly amazing for its low weight.
Now, the PacLite Gore-tex and the 12 denier rip-stop nylon is very lightweight and I figured that it would result in a very fragile fabric which would knuckle under the harsh conditions of the Himalayas. Remarkably it did not. Even after months of being scraped against the mountains or sharp, thorny bushed on overgrown paths it has not a single battle wound.

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Breathability

Rain jackets aren´t exactly known for their high breathability and most rain jackets become clammy during high exertion. Of course it is difficult for a jacket which is designed to keeping water from entering to let the moisture built up during physical activity out. The Torrent Flier does, in my opinion, a rather good job at doing exactly this. Perhaps not by letting the moisture vent out through the fabric, but rather through the two 42cm large pit zips. I used this jacket many days to keep the wind at bay and I rarely felt clammy or uncomfortably warm while wearing it. Since coming back to Norway I have also used it while cross-country skiing and it has continued to perform excellent thanks to the pit zips. One note on the zippers though is that even though you can quite easily unzip with one hand I´ve found that it takes two hands to close them up again.

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Conclusion

This has been my very first experience with the Montbell brand and I can do nothing but praise it and highly recommend it. After surviving the harsh environment of the Himalayas I can say this is a jacket you can count on when the weather turns bad. It is strikingly lightweight, highly packable, exceptionally weather resistant and extremely durable, resulting in a jacket you will be enjoying for years.

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